Species group: Boas, Anacondas and Pythons
Other common names: Asiatic Reticulated Python, Regal Python
Scientific name: Python reticulatus
Vying with the Green Anaconda for the title of World’s Longest Snake, the massive Reticulated Python is wildly-popular in both zoos and private collections. Unfortunately, a powerful constrictor that outgrows most home enclosures by age 3 years, and has been responsible for human fatalities is not suitable for most private collections.
The Reticulated Python’s ranges throughout much of East and Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and is also present on many nearby islands. Three subspecies have been described.
Quite adaptable as long as a permanent water source is available, they inhabit wooded grasslands, swamps, open forests, river valleys and rocky foothills. Farms, suburbs and even such large cities as Bangkok and Singapore have been colonized.
Appearance / health:
The Reticulated Python’s record length appears to be appears to be 32 feet, 9 inches, but individuals longer than 23 feet are exceedingly rare. The background color is yellowish-tan, marked with an intricate pattern of black blotches and ovals. A wide variety of color morphs are available in the pet trade.
With proper care, captive longevity may exceed 30 years. Dry sheds are common in terrariums where the average humidity is consistently below 30%, and skin infections will take hold in overly-damp environments. Reticulated Pythons may be subject to mites, inclusion body disease, and other ailments.
Behavior / temperament:
Although long-term captives are sometimes mistakenly described by as “tame”, Reticulated Pythons are not domesticated animals and must never be handled carelessly. Two strong, well-experienced adults should always be on hand when specimens over 6 feet in length are fed, cleaned or moved. Long term pets have killed adult owners. The head must never be allowed near one’s face, as even well-habituated individuals may react to scents or vibrations that people cannot sense. Many individuals remain high-strung and aggressive despite years in captivity.
Hatchlings can be accommodated in a 55 gallon aquarium. After 2-3 years, a homemade cage or re-designed room will be necessary. Security is a major concern. The huge volume of waste produced necessitates a floor drain in most cases. Stout, well-anchored branches or basking shelves and a hide box should be provided. Newspapers, butcher paper, terrarium liners and Astroturf can serve as substrates for young snakes, but large individuals are best kept in enclosures that can be scrubbed and hosed-out.
Reticulated Python enclosures should be maintained at a temperature range of 78-86 F, and provided with a basking site of 95-100 F. A thermal gradient allows snakes to regulate their body temperature by moving from hot to cooler areas, and is critical to good health. Heat pads and pig blankets located beneath the cage floor should be provided for larger individuals.
The vast array of prey species includes monkeys, antelope, monitor lizards, leopards, crocodiles, domestic goats, sheep and dogs. The largest meal documented seems to be a 130 pound impala antelope, as reported by James Oliver of the Bronx Zoo. The species’ most “elegant” meal may be a Siamese cat (including bells and collar) that was taken from the palace of a former king of Siam!
Hatchlings can handle adult mice, and soon move on to rats and rabbits.
A 10-foot-long python will consume 100-150 pounds of food yearly. Food should be offered with a long handled snake tongs, as they will not distinguish between food and owner.
Female Reticulated Pythons protect their eggs and “shiver” in order to raise the temperature of the clutch. Thirty to 100+ eggs are deposited after a gestation period of 100-150 days. The eggs hatch in approximately 60 days. The hatchlings are 30-32 inches long and become sexually mature at a length of approximately 10 feet.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
beautiful snakes, educational shows, total sweetheart, absolute favorite species, awesome animals
secure cages, tempermental snakes, angry 18 foot, massive size, tank size, agitated creatures, Wild caughts
ammonia capsule, huge appetite, voracious feeder, experienced handlers, loud breather, sheer power
A Spectacular Giant for Zoos Only
Working with reticulated pythons at the Bronx Zoo was a realization of a lifelong dream. I’m very fortunate to have had this opportunity, but it has also made me realize that these animals are not suitable for private collections. One of the few snakes documented to have consumed people, exhibits housing these often irascible giants are never opened unless 2 qualified zookeepers are on hand; panic buttons are always in reach as well.
The retic vies with the green anaconda for the title of the longest snake on earth. The largest I’ve worked with was a wild-caught 23 footer. She was much thinner than a large anaconda, but immensely powerful, and more Than a match for any 2 people. Adult retics require room-sized enclosures equipped with drains, and cannot be safely handled by 1 person. Food, in the form of rabbits and suckling pigs, is quite an expense. Most under my care in zoos remained aggressive. Fortunately, they are kept and bred by many zoos, and so can be safely viewed and studied by even the youngest budding herpetologists – please, enjoy them in that manner!.
From findiviglio Jan 17 2016 5:56PM
would only reccomend dwaf recticulatd pythons
i would recommend people purchase a dwarf reticulated python as regular ones can grow 20ft plus and are unpredictable like Burmese pythons these snakes should only be allowed to be kept by zoos not breeders or experienced keepers anything can go wrong these are not the type of snakes to show off with and play with not good if you have children and other pets
From ajakana89 May 13 2009 3:49PM